Monday, December 13, 2021

Joey's Classic Cheesecake


 I was given a version of this recipe about a million years ago by my sister-in-law, Janet. She had made it and brought it to one of our family events, and after one bite I decided that this was the best cheesecake I had ever tasted. As she was describing the recipe to me, she said it was originally a pumpkin swirl cheesecake and that she just omitted the pumpkin ingredients. I took it a step further and tweaked it ever so slightly. Now it's just perfect!
 Over the years, I've made it SO many times for cast parties, holiday parties, birthdays, you name it. And it's ALWAYS a big hit. At one point, I was making it so often that the corner store next to my apartment specially ordered 3 lb blocks of cream cheese just for me. I guess they were getting tired of having to restock their supply of cream cheese every time I baked a cheesecake. LOL (true story!)
 Full disclosure... I actually debated whether or not to share this recipe or keep it to myself, but then I figured it would be a shame not to share it. It's just so good. If you like a rich creamy cheesecake, then this is definitely the one for you. I honestly don't think you'll find anything better!


2 sleeves graham crackers (they usually come 3 sleeves to a box)
2 tbs sugar
5 tbs melted butter

Preheat oven to 300ºF.

Using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process graham crackers and sugar until finely crushed to crumbs. Add butter and process until well combined. Using the palm of your hand, press FIRMLY into bottom of a 10" spring form pan. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.


6 (8oz) pkgs Philly cream cheese

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup heavy cream

Combine all ingredients in the order listed, making sure to mix well after each addition. (be sure to mix eggs into batter one at a time). Pour onto prepared crust. (No need to cool the baked crust). Place in oven and bake for one hour. Without opening the oven door, (resist the urge to open it!!) turn the oven off and leave cake in oven for at least 2 more hours. I usually just leave it there until the oven cools and I can remove it without using oven mitts. Remove from oven and then remove the outer ring of the spring form pan. Allow to cool to room temperature, then put it in the fridge to chill. (This step is important because it'll crack in a huge way if you put it directly into the fridge from the oven). Once it is chilled, serve plain or with your desired topping. 
 To serve it as it's shown in the photo, top it with the prettiest strawberries you can find, then add a tbs of water to a little bit of jam, and brush it onto the berries for a shiny glossy finish!


This is an extremely versatile recipe and you can change it to make whatever kind of cheesecake you'd like. You can add chopped oreos to it, mini chocolate chips, chopped snickers bars, really anything you can think of. You can take a portion of the batter and add chocolate syrup, or pumpkin and spices, or peanut butter, then swirl your flavored batter with the the plain batter for a swirled cheesecake, or just top it with your favorite fruits, or berries or even caramel. There's really no wrong way to do it and it turns out every time. I also like to play with different crusts. For a chocolate chip cheesecake, I make the crust out of oreos. For a peanut butter swirl cheesecake, I make the crust out of nutter butters. Most times I use graham crackers or vanilla wafers for the crust. Again, the sky's the limit on cake/crust combinations. Oh, and be sure all ingredients are at room temperature before you start. That's a biggie. It makes a HUGE difference, more than you'd think it would. The batter is smoother, the finished cake is creamier, and it helps reduce cracks on the top of the cake. And if your cream cheese is room temperature, you'll be less likely to burn out your mixer. (it used to happen to me all the time until I finally bought a Kitchen Aid!) Also, be sure to use the best ingredients. Do NOT use low fat this, or imitation that. If you're going to have cheesecake, then have REAL cheesecake. There's just no substitute!

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